Why Interest Lists Won’t Save your Facebook Fan Page Reach

It’s true.

And, no, it isn’t your imagination.

On September 20th, Facebook changed its algorithm, resulting in an even lower percentage of your fans being shown your updates.

Facebook continues to make it more and more difficult for small business owners to be successful with their social media engagement efforts. When questioned, Facebook’s response is for fan page admins to pay up so more of your fans see your posts.

As a result of the increasing challenges and the desire for fan page admins to not have to constantly pay for engagement, you’ve probably seen a flurry of Facebook fan page updates asking fans to follow a set of steps to “ensure” their page’s posts are seen. You also may have seen some asking you to add their fan page to an Interest List.

Unfortunately, these approaches aren’t going to be successful.

Why?

Because…

  1. If a fan is not already seeing your page’s updates, they won’t see that post telling them to follow a set of instructions.
  2. The use of Interest Lists isn’t going to help your cause unless your fans already use that feature. I would venture to guess that the majority of Facebook users have never even heard of Interest Lists, let alone regularly use them.
  3. It’s never a good business practice to ask your customers to jump through hoops on your behalf.

So what can you do?

  1. Focus on content My personal motto when it comes to social media content is “relevant and complementary”. You can’t blast your message all day, every day or fans will tune you out. Generate a list of content ideas that relate to your typical fan. For example, a jewelry store may post about weddings, fashion, gifts, salon and spa services, fancy cars, vacations, Broadway shows coming to town and anything else that speaks to high-end, luxury clientele.
  2. Pay for (some) engagement On a very limited basis, it may be worth it to pay to promote a post. Special sales, holiday events and other business announcements may warrant the expenditure of a few bucks. Promoted posts start at only $5, so it’s not a big investment to at least test and see what kind of rewards you reap.
  3. Diversify your social media strategy The challenges fan page admins face have only continued to mount. Plus, you don’t own your page, Facebook does. If your entire social media presence – or even more risky, your entire online presence – is your Facebook fan page, it’s time to consider some varied options.

Hearing of these changes can be frustrating. As a small business owner, you’re already trying to do the work of many all by yourself. If you employ a solid content strategy and have a balanced social and online presence, you won’t need to be overly concerned about Facebook’s continued throttling of your fan page’s reach.

How have you adapted your strategy as a result of Facebook’s algorithm change?

*Photo credit: Israel Avila

12 Comments

  1. Catherine Tatum (@ClassicLegacy)

    I have noticed my views going down and really did not know why. Thanks for sharing……it does seem to be these 3 choices….1. Do something else other than Facebook (your number three point) 2. Pay Facebook, or 3. Become more relevant to your target audience. ….I think my business is becoming more relevant on Twitter and Pinterest! That is where I am seeing more engagement…..Facebook may be what I just use for personal use not business very soon. I think these steps by Facebook are a mistake if they want the business of many small companies.

    Reply
    • Admin

      I agree with you, Catherine. What makes Facebook, Facebook, is its users. I don’t think it would be doing the things it has been if it wasn’t the social behemoth its become. But it has made it very difficult for small biz folks to use its platform in a constructive, worthwhile way.

      I think it’s so great that you’ve found relevancy with other platforms! I think too many business owners have the mindset that Facebook is the one and only answer, when it’s very possible something else – or a couple something else’s – really work better.

      Reply
  2. Ali

    I HAVE noticed. I haven’t paid much attention because I just thought that people didn’t like me anymore 🙂

    Reply
  3. Jill

    I have paid $10 here & there for a fb ad. They do generate more activity. FB will sometimes have contests for small businesses where you can earn credit towards ads. 🙂 I (about 1 x week) will share my business post on my personal timeline.

    Reply
  4. Terry

    Wow…I’ve been hearing about this, but thought it only related to friends of your personal FB profile page. (After all, I never seem to get more than a handful of responses to posts, these days–maybe I’m just not very interesting!)

    But if FB is ratcheting down the usefulness of Business pages, then maybe I haven’t been so out-of-touch after all, by never having created a business page for freelance business. Yes, I know I’m behind the times. But this is kind of a justification for my continued focus on my business’ website, not just FB.

    Reply
    • Admin

      I can see that, Terry. For fan page admins who have poured so much into their pages over time, these changes by Facebook are really more like slaps in the face. It’s great that your website is the main hub for your online presence.

      Reply
      • Terry

        Sorry, I didn’t mean to sound glib or smug–I would definitely feel slapped too. But let’s say I wanted to start improving my nonexistent Facebook presence, as I have seriously considered doing. As a result of the new algorithm, how high on my priority list should creating a NEW fan/business page be now?

        (Particularly as a one-person shop, with limited time and resources to devote.)

        Reply
        • Admin

          We didn’t think you sounded glib nor smug. Without knowing more about your specific industry, the best general advice we could give would be to understand how Facebook & its algorithm work, how to compose a strong status update (to give you the best shot at engagement) and to be diversified on social.

          Reply
      • james

        I noticed this as well… I have around 22K users on my business’ fan page. I deal with a grey market product (tobacco pipes), so I’m not allowed to purchase facebook advertising (although I see tons of other products in my space being advertised on FB). That means that my posts when from regularly getting 400 to 600 likes to being lucky if I can get 50. I’m an original content creator and regularly find things that might users love to see. The new algorithm plus the fact that I can’t purchase advertising really limits my ability to control my own destiny on FB. I find it very frustrating and way too heavy handed. They didn’t need to cut my engagement down by a factor of 10 in order to monetize their system and encourage people to use it. They should have throttled business pages noticeably (but much less than currently) and then made it so a paid post was really amazing in it’s reach. Amazing enough to inspire people to want to use it, instead of making us feel like we’re being punished for our hard work and expense. (Before FB banned me from advertising I had spent over 2500 bucks in advertising)

        Reply
        • Admin

          As unfortunate as it is for me to type this, you are a perfect example of everything wrong with Facebook’s changes. All these reasons are also why we are guiding our clients to consider shifting time away from Facebook, over to other platforms. I heartily agree with your suggestions of moves that would have been better for Facebook to make. And I agree about the way Facebook positions its’ paid ads service; I can’t mouse anywhere near any of its boost post buttons without a giant box popping up on my screen asking me to buy Reach.

          Have you considered Google+? Not only does it have tremendous search benefits, it’s also a great niche platform. You could likely find people who love and use products you sell.

          Reply
  5. Arnold Slang

    Hi there,

    Do you know who DOES see posts? Is it people you are friends with from your personal page? Or people who have interacted with your page more often? right now only about a quarter of my Likes actually see my posts .. At most!

    Reply
    • Admin

      Yes, it’s supposed to be those who interact most with your fan page.

      Reply

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